2022 Bar Top 2 fulfills high school dream of becoming lawyer
SAN JACINTO, Pangasinan — Years ago, Erickson Mariñas, 26, wrote in his high school graduation yearbook: “Ten years from now, I will be a lawyer.”
Mariñas never would have thought back then that he would not only fulfill his dream but also clinch the second-top spot at the 2022 Bar exams.
When he was a law student during the pandemic, Mariñas followed a “systematic” time schedule, his mother, Loreta Mariñas told the Inquirer.
Every 5 p.m., he would pause his online law classes, go to the yard where he would pick ripe guavas, and pet his dogs until it was dinner time.
“That is how he relaxed during his law studies and review, aside from watching Hollywood movies on which he wrote long reviews,” Loreta said in a phone interview on April 15.
Loreta’s heart swelled with pride as her son secured second place in the rigorous Bar exams. After grappling with challenging classes and facing off against “terror” professors at the University of the Philippines (UP), her son succeeded.
“But he never considered quitting, so I knew that his heart was in what he was pursuing,” Loreta said.
Loreta described Erickson, the youngest of three siblings, as “not so studious when he was in the elementary grades.”
“This was why I was focused on him, tutoring him and reviewing him in his lessons, especially before tests. I think I was more nervous when he was taking tests. I was so strict that he would sometimes tell me to stop teaching him,” Loreta, the budget officer of the San Jacinto municipal government, recalled.
Mariñas went through three schools for his elementary education – Sunrisers Merryland School for kindergarten and grade I, San Jacinto Catholic School for grades 2 to 3, and Cherished Moments School in Mangaldan town from Grades 4 to 6.
It was at the Cherished Moments when he spent his secondary school, during which his mother stopped tutoring him.
“But he must have imbibed the discipline of studying, as he excelled in high school, bagging first honors from his first to his fourth year. He was also the supreme student council’s president in his third and fourth years and shone in extemporaneous speaking and debate, winning top prizes in those fields during private school contests in the district. That early, I can see he had the makings of being a lawyer,” Loreta said.
Sister dreamed first
Loreta said it was her oldest daughter, Daisy, a scholar at the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), who wanted to be a lawyer.
It was also at ADMU where Erickson finished his Bachelor of Science in Legal Management course with a scholarship. He graduated magna cum laude and was the class valedictorian.
Daisy, however, decided to find employment after graduation to help with the family’s finances and Erickson’s studies.
Loreta said that without the scholarship, she could not have sent Erickson to the expensive university for college with her income as a municipal employee.
Her husband was a former overseas Filipino worker who returned to the country to farm until he died in 2019.
When it was time for Erickson to enter law school, Loreta hoped he would hurdle the tough UP law entrance test, as there was no way she could afford the ADMU’s hefty P150,000 per semester tuition fee.
UP Law School accepts only 300 new students every year. Thus, entering it is really challenging, even for a straight-A student like Erickson.
When he graduated in 2022, he already had offers of employment from several law firms due to his outstanding performance.
He started to work at a law firm based in Makati City in January 2023 after he took the Bar exams last year.
When he was in his second year of law school, he worked as a research assistant for a professor.
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